Conor Oberst May Be Cracking A Smile

noah | August 4, 2008 4:00 am

From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. This time out, we’re taking a look at writeups for Bright Eyes mastermind Conor Oberst’s solo album, which hits stores tomorrow.

• “‘Help me go slow, I’ve been carrying on,’ he sings, and all the hype and expectations and ancillary rubbish recede, leaving only the sound of an earnest singer and songwriter fully coming into his own.” [Hartford Courant]

• “‘Milk Thistle,’ which closes the album, is a grim acoustic song about dying (Oberst never mentions alcohol explicitly, but milk thistle, a purported hangover cure, is often employed, holistically, to treat liver disease–so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to read ‘Milk Thistle’ as a song about suicide-via-whiskey). ‘Milk thistle, milk thistle, let me down slow,’ he trembles. ‘If I go to heaven I’ll be bored as hell.’ It feels like a fitting, if morbid, way to end a record about escaping life–about escaping everything.” [Pitchfork]

• “Perhaps the best of Conor Oberst, though, is the rich, Ramones-meet-Replacements tale about engineering a hospital escape in ‘I Don’t Want to Die (In a Hospital).’ It’s an amusing, rebellious take on a sad situation that shows off another welcome development for Oberst–a sense of humor.” [Newsday]